Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health - CPATH

TPP and Public Health 2016
TPP and Public Health 2016
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Public Health Alert! 

 The TPP's "Sudden" Demise

The proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) was an unpopular trade agreement with sweeping implications for the public’s health. The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) negotiated the deal with 11 Pacific Rim nations in secret from the public and from most elected representatives, starting in 2010. But USTR's appointed Trade Advisors representing the pharmaceuticaltobaccoalcoholhealth insurance, processed food, energyIT, finance and other industries had open access to the negotiations, and  shaped U.S. trade priorities.

The TPP proposed to confer new and expanded rights to transnational corporations to protect their profits over the rights of democratically elected governments and the public, by challenging domestic laws and regulations before international corporate-driven trade tribunals.

On Nov 9, 2016, the day after the national election, the Obama Administration formally announced it was discontinuing its strong public campaign to move for approval of the TPP during a “lame duck” session of Congress. The report attached below is CPATH's most recent analysis of the TPP as of October, 2016: Trading Public Policy to Corporate Control: The Trans Pacific Partnership Threatens Public Health. 

Click here for CPATH on TPP

Two recent high-profile statements attempt to drum up support for the unpopular TPP based on a faulty analysis of its provisions on tobacco control, and access to medicines. Unravel the facts here:

Oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Protect Public Health, Huffington Post Blog, June 3, 2016   Ellen R. Shaffer, Joe Brenner, Joshua Yang, Donald Zeigler


The statement clarifies that while the TPP tobacco control provision represents important progress, it is limited. TPP presents serious threats to income inequality, food and beverage regulations, access to affordable medicines and health care services, environmental protection/climate change, labor standards, and occupational/environmental health.

Click here to download Trade & Health Forum letter on TPP


Public Health Comments: Investment Hearing

Trading Views: Real Debate on Key Issues in the TPP

U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means

Dec. 2, 2015   Comments Submitted Dec. 9, 2015

Joseph E. Brenner MA and Ellen R. Shaffer PhD MPH Co-Directors

Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health (CPATH)

Click here to download CPATH Testimony ISDS and TPP 12-15


CPATH appreciates the opportunity to comment on public health concerns regarding the investment provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).  The investment chapter includes rules for enforcing the terms of the agreement, including through the Investor-State Dispute Resolution System (ISDS), which has been used to contest a wide range of public health policies.  The TPP’s proposed “exception” from ISDS disputes in the case of tobacco control measures is limited at best.

Public health measures authorize local, state and national governments to identify, monitor and promote the conditions that achieve and maintain healthy individuals, communities and populations. These range from protection from tobacco and other hazards, to sustainable economic systems that increase income equality, democratic political inclusion and social justice. [1] [2]

Trade agreements establish countries’ mutual rights and obligations with regard to trade. Matters of concern to public health include: tariffs; intellectual property rules on access to affordable medicines and to information, copyrights, and advertising; services ranging from banking to health care, water supply, and distribution of alcohol products; government procurement for grants and contracts; agriculture; and internet access and information privacy. These agreements can provide a basis for altering the implementation of domestic U.S. laws and policies, as well as those of our trading partners. Trade rules that advance corporations’ ability to operate within uniform and predictable rules can foster sustainable economic development, democracy, and peace. They can also conflict with or subordinate policies that prioritize people’s health.

The TPP and other trade deals should safeguard and improve the economic well-being of Americans and our trading partners, promote the health of our communities, and advance economically and socially just, democratically controlled, and environmentally sustainable outcomes.

 Rather, the TPP prioritizes commercial gain at the expense of people's health, including protection from deadly tobacco products, and undermines democratic sovereignty to make decisions to safeguard and improve our health.  It expands the rights of transnational corporations to protect their profits over the rights of democratically elected governments and the public. These include the right to challenge the implementation of domestic laws and regulations in international trade tribunals.

Congress can’t amend the TPP, but can only vote yes or no on the whole package, due to “Fast Track” rules.  The text on tobacco control and other key public health concerns therefore requires particularly careful analysis. These concerns are also relevant to other complex, multi-national trade agreements being negotiated by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), including the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union, and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA). 

 [See entire statement at link above.]



[1]Institute of Medicine. The future of public health in the 21st century. National Academies Press, Washington, DC.

November, 2002.

[2]World Health Organization. Constitution of the World Health Organization.

Bringing a Public Health Voice to Global Trade and Sustainable Development
Ellen R. Shaffer and Joe Brenner, Co-Directors
P.O. Box 29586, San Francisco, CA 94129
phone 415-922-6204